WW1 Naval Casualties

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Information about WW1 Naval Casualties

These archives record the deaths in service of naval other ranks (i.e. not officers) during the First World War. The original records are held by The National Archives and are perilously damaged.

Almost 45,000 Royal Navy sailors died in the Great War and, for most, the sea is their last resting place. Those without graves are mostly commemorated on the huge naval memorials at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. Despite the number remaining at sea, over a third are buried ashore, in mostly named graves, all over the world. Many sailors fought alongside the army at Gallipoli, Russia and the Western Front. Many others died in the United Kingdom and were buried there.

Aside from their full names, rating, number, branch of service, name of ship or unit, decorations etc., other valuable information is usually available. The date and cause of death, location of their cemetery and reference of grave (where applicable) is shown together with the name and address of the relative notified of the death. This last item will be especially useful to genealogists. There are many surprises, such as submariners buried in Baghdad and men in the Armoured Car Division buried in Russia.

One gem, noticed among the records describing a grave, is 'Buried [in] East Africa on a small knoll marked by blazed tree, R. bank Kaibiga River, 100 yards W. of Ndyimbwa-Ungwara.' For those lost at Gallipoli there are often detailed descriptions rather than traditional locations for the grave.